The European Championships are finally drawing to a close, one year after it was due to have been originally staged.
The wait has been worth it for many football fans who have delighted in the resilience of the Danes, purred at the free-flowing football from the Azurri and watched on in disbelief as England made short work of their old foes Germany. There has also been plenty to enjoy for Liverpool fans, as 7 players from the club took to the main stage to represent their countries. In this article we take an in-depth look at all of the Liverpool players involved and analyse what their performances could mean for their Anfield futures.
In February, the Liverpool skipper underwent surgery for a groin injury which ruled him out of contention for the rest of the domestic campaign. His inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s squad was questioned by many in the media with Roy Keane claiming that Henderson would just be a “cheerleader”.
The former Sunderland player has proved to be more than that to England as he broke his goal scoring duct for his nation in the impressive 4-0 quarter final victory over Ukraine. That goal saw Hendo briefly top the social tracker stats as England’s most discussed player on social media.
That said though, it has been hard for Henderson to have much of an impact on the pitch at this tournament due to his lack of fitness. Hopefully he can return to Melwood in tip-top shape and riding the crest of an England wave…
(Jordan Henderson scored his first England goal as Gareth Southgate’s team smashed Ukraine 4-0 in Rome.)
Liverpool’s 27-year-old left-back has been an elite performer for Jurgen Klopp ever since making the switch to Anfield from East Yorkshire back in 2014.
Unfortunately for Robbo, when he travels to meet up with his country he is greeted by an altogether different standard of player than he is used to training with at Melwood.
Lyndon Dykes is not quite the forward target that Roberto Firmino is and likewise, Stephen O’Donnell is no Trent Alexander-Arnold to trade cross-field passes with. Despite the limitations of his teammates, Robertson performed admirably in all three group games.
What was encouraging for Liverpool fans though was the leadership that the left-back showed, in the first group game against the Czech Republic he was on hand to reassure teammates who appeared to be struggling with the occasion.
The 20-year-old full-back was probably not ready to represent his country at a major tournament and that showed in his final appearance of the tournament.
Heading on to the field to replace the injured Connor Roberts in the Round of 16 clash against Denmark, Williams froze under the pressure.
He passed the ball straight out of play on occasion, was beaten too easily by his winger and then gifted the Danes their second goal of the game by badly shanking a clearance straight into the path of Kasper Dolberg.
By the time Williams had grown into the game, the damage had been done as the Danes slipped into game management mode. All that Liverpool fans learned about Williams is that he is still in need of serious development before he can be considered for a starting berth in this current Liverpool squad.
Perhaps a move to League One, where he could beef up and test himself against some wily operators would be a good next step in Williams’ development.
(Neco Williams wasn’t the only Liverpool player to let himself down in this game.)
The 23-year-old winger who spent last season on loan with Championship side Cardiff City is not good enough to make the grade at Anfield.
His performances did little to disprove this fact as he struggled to make much of an impact for his country.
Wilson’s final act for his country was leaving the field in disgrace after being shown a straight red card for cynically hacking down Joakim Maehle with no intent to win the ball.
The Liverpool forward drew the ire of former Manchester United talisman Cristiano Ronaldo in his nation’s opening game by opting to shoot rather than slip in the Juventus man.
In the following game, Ronaldo showed Jota how it was done by excellently setting up the former Wolves player for his first and only goal of the tournament.
Unfortunately for Jota, that was the high point of his campaign as he failed to make much of an impact in the final group game against France or Portugal’s Round of 16 exit at the hands of Belgium.
Like Henderson, Shaqiri was another Liverpool player to go into the tournament struggling for fitness.
Had he joined up with his countrymen in tip-top condition, there’s a chance that we could be looking at a very different semi-final and final line-up.
The 29-year-old was the difference maker against Spain in the quarter finals, scoring his country’s equaliser before being withdrawn by Coach Vladimir Petkovic. That strike took Shaqiri’s haul to 3 for the tournament, not bad for a player that managed an average of 73 minutes per game.
Liverpool’s midfield maestro only played 65 minutes in total across 4 appearances during the tournament.
In the latter stages of his country’s quarter final against Switzerland he was called upon by Coach Luis Enrique to break down the belligerent Swiss defence. Despite injecting more pace and energy into the Spain attack, Thiago was ultimately unsuccessful in that task.
Written by Alan Spencer
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